ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WDHN) — The mental health of small children is a national emergency according to a declaration this week by a group of professional pediatric organizations.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, pediatricians have seen an increase in mental health disorders, anxiety, depression, and ADHD symptoms.

Some pediatricians, including Dr. Nola Ernest with the Enterprise Pediatric Clinic, had to expand her number of appointments.

Dr. Ernest said declaring children’s mental health as a national emergency sends a message to the state and federal leaders that there need to be resources not only during the pandemic but also in the future as well.

“Increasing counseling in school settings so getting counselors out to children, increasing universal screening and that is often done through the pediatrician office but getting kids in for that universal screening,”

Dr. Ernest said increasing parenting support, money for food banks, and child care are other resources that will help.